Erdogan: 109 'terrorists killed' in Syria push

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the extended meeting with provincial heads of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, Turkey, on October 10, 2019. (AFP)

Turkey's president says that there have been 109 "terrorists killed" — a reference to Syrian Kurdish fighters — since Ankara launched an offensive into Syria the previous day.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not elaborate and the reports on the ground did not indicate anything remotely close to such a large number of casualties.

Erdogan also warned the European Union not to call Ankara's incursion into Syria an 'invasion,' and renewed his threat of letting Syrian refugees flood Europe.

He reiterated an earlier statement that Turkey could "open the gates" for an influx of Syrian migrants to Europe.

Erdogan spoke to ruling party officials on Thursday, saying Turkey seeks to prevent the creation of a "terror state" along its border with Syria.

Turkey's state-run news agency says Turkey-allied Syrian opposition fighters have "cleared of terror" two villages across the border in Syria — meaning there are no more Syrian Kurdish fighters in those villages.

Anadolu Agency said on Thursday the Turkish-backed fighters entered the villages of Yabisa and Tel Fander. It did not provide further details.

Major Youssef Hammoud, a spokesman for Turkey-backed Syrian rebels, tweeted that they were in Yabisa, near the town of Tal Abyad, describing it as "the first village to win freedom."

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